With the help of some excellent suggestions last summer I put together a recce for my boy that is the envy of his battalion as we speak.
It looks like I'll be going over in early 2007. As a gray haired officer doctor type I will be riding or working in and around the Forward Surgical Team Operating Rooms (i.e. a couple of inflated tents [overpressure keeps the germs out]). I'll also be spending some time out and about, working with local doctors, etc. I took a pass on carrying a Berretta, and opted for an M-16 instead. I will put together an SBR upper this year, and wanted to toss out a couple ideas for "critical review". Since I can use any upper I want, I want to build one that I want. All my kids are grown and gone, and the wife left years ago for a banker who buys her BMW's instead of going hunting every weekend. So, I can splurge a bit.
This is a self defense rig. My job is to patch up the soldiers, not stir up trouble. Already had my fun back when my hair was dark.
Anyway, I was initially thinking:
11.5" barrel, chrome lined, not too fat, carbine length gas port placement.
Troy/RD Suppressor or AAC M4 2000 Suppressor; leaning toward the Troy for slightly shorter OAL. I use cans on everything. My hearing is still very good, and it would be nice to keep it that way.
LW Gas Trap System; because I am a lazy POS who doesn't want to spend much time cleaning. I'm open to the POF system as well. Don't know if one is significantly better than the other.
CMT M-4 upper from Denny.
One of Denny's new lowers (for off duty use).
Will clean up the issue trigger and change springs out to get a useable pull.
Ambidextrous safety and magazine release because I am........ambidextrous.
LMT stock because it fits me very well. A few batteries there will help balance out the weight of the can and LW gas system.
Chrome silicon buffer spring and an MGI buffer to keep the cyclic down.
Troy back-up sights, and an EOtech main optic because I am old and my eyes can't focus for shit anymore.
Tango-Down rear and vertical fore grips because I tried them last year and they feel GOOOOOOOD.
Any suggestions on a specific barrel?
Any suggestions for the rail/forend? I know I can't use my beloved Larue unit ().
Thanks for your help.
I am building a rifle with about 75% commonality in parts. I have heard conflicting reports that Seberger sued Troy and RD and the suppressor wont be delivered... I have heard I should have a tracking number on my suppressor by this weekend because Troy got sued and not RD thus its RD marked and not Troy marked. Look into that before dropping cash. Id call RD myself if I were you.
My 11.5" barrel is being built by ABS on a PacNor polygonal 1/7 twist blank, LMT M4 barrel extension, carbon fiber wrapped, and lined (in the barrel, chamber and even the extension including the lugs) with an electroless nickle/silicon carbide matrix which provides better wear, friction, and corrosion prtection than hard chrome, does not harm the accuracy of the barrel like hard chrome and can be applied to stainless steel. I went ahead and had my Leitner Wise ACB bolt coated in it too as its stainless (bolt body) but the extractor is not and the finish was indistinguishable on the two different metals. I had some problems getting the barrel set up propperly for the LW piston system and am now going on about 4 and a half months on just the barrel being built to spec before it can go to LW to be finished as a complete rifle as the barrle had to be sent back to be reworked.
I think that may be the ultimate barrel for your project too but its too early to know if it really compatable or not and after the ABS price hike I think that barrel might be costing over $700 now. If you dont know about ABS barrels please read up on them just to be current with the latest techno vunder gear. They sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread on paper and in theory but time will tell.
The alternative barrel to this one was always a govt profile 11.5" 4150 M4 feed ramped type barrel. Be aware you will have to pull the FSB, buy a SPR gas block and have Grenadier Precision custom pin the SPR gas block to your barrel to work with their gas system (GP does the conversions for LW) if you want to run the RD suppressor. Again this has not been done before but they have done Larue gas blocks with a single pin but Larue gas blocks wont allow the RD suppressor mount to fit. Should not be a big issue though. Lets hope.
The LW system uses a lighter carrier that is as much lighter than the original carrier than the piston parts are heavier than the gas tube. There is no net weight gain just a mild shift forward in existing weight. POF is heavier. Suppressed The LW is about 5 db quieter than the POF system. If the piston was destroyed by a fragment from an IED or stray round you can convert the LW system back to DI with only pushing out a single pin and reinstalling the gas tube and a standard carrier. You cant do that with POF. LW is self regulating so no adjustments between suppressed and unsuppressed. POF requires an adjustment when you add or remove the suppressor. I chose the LW system for these reasons and others but I dont want to turn this into a LW ad.
If you are having LW build the upper you might check to see if their upper recievers are cost competative to Denny's uppers. It would increase the resale value of your upper to have a LW upper with the conversion if it ever came to that.
I would skip the ambi controls. You wont have them on the M16 which your life may dependupon so dont get used to them and rely on them only to not have them when it really matters. Just my POV on the matter.
You may not be able to run an MGI buffer with a LW system, perhaps you can. They have had reliability issues with 9mm buffers and the MGI RRB is the exact weight of a 9mm buffer. I would watch to see what happens as people buy them and test them on more LW piston guns. MGI offers a money back guarantee so if you HAVE to try it yourself you could always get a refund and go to an Enidine.
I use a Troy A1 rear and love it... great choice. I have an astigmatism so both Aimpoints and EOtechs are fuzzy to me without contacts. For this reason I decided to go with a more traditional 1-4X variable power optic. Short Dot costs lots... perhaps too much. I hear they will have a new 3rd generation out for Shot... we will see. Aimpoint vs EOtech is all about personal preference.
Your grips are personal preference too. I dont use tape switches and the TD front grip is not only wider side to side than it is deep, its not symetrical with the cover on so its egg shapped. It is my least favorite grip but if you like it that is all that matters. Same goes for the rear grip. Tiny at the top and fat at the bottom... I prefer the Magpul grip instead. Again this is all persoanl preference and what works for my hands may not work for yours.
The only real option to consider on the rail is the Grenadier precision rail. Almost noone elses rail will fit a LW system. Its designed to give easy access to the piston system, has extra vents in the top rails to vent gasses behind the FSB and in general is a well made rail with alot of thought behind it. GP will release a new rail system that will be lighter and allow for a midlength on your set up. You see if you use the RD suppressor you cant partially sleeve the suppressor inside the barrel because the latches for the G rail get in the way. You are forced to use a carbin version to get it to fit. The new rail will not even be out at Shot as planned because GP is working so hard to build conversion uppers from the group buy and its on the back burner. If you wont be building the upper for months Id look into whenther the rail is released or not. GP will give NO specific details even though they have fully designed the rail. It may not be as usefull as the current rail, who knows. I am going with the current GP rail.
I hope this helps you out and answers some questions for you.
Thanks for the response. That answered a lot of questions.
I like the TD rear grip because it is fast for me. I use an Ergo for shooting coyotes with the SPR clone.
The MGI won't go to waste around this house. I will have to hide it from the kids when they come to visit. Will probably get one of each buffer available and play around to get a low rpm count along with reliability.
I'll be able to run ambi controls on my issue weapon. So long as I put it back in order before turning it in everything is cool. Sometimes it is handy to be able to shoot lefty.
I'll watch to see how your ABS barrel turns out in the end. I will be getting one of their barrels for my AR-10.
I'll keep my eyes posted for the new GP rail. It would be nice to tuck part of the suppressor under the rail.
Will start buying parts this summer.
This beats the snot out of buying a new roof for the house.
I would agree that its not the best idea to heavily mod your issue rifle. If you can get an M-4, I would just add a rail and maybe an ACOG and go with that...
If not, maybe a shorty upper from LMT with a KX3 and optic...maybe a carbine stock and spring but that's it.
You won't find parts and support for any piston system other than the HK in theater.
if they are offering a pistol also, take it! Chances are you will have to have a weapon on you to go to the chow hall, might as make life easy on you and just take the m9.
He should have no need for "support" for piston parts. The parts are more than reliable enough t and he can swap back to an original carrier and gas tube with a single roll pin push and the carrier from his issued upper. You guys sound like the old farts who say you should use irons because your Aimpoint might go down and you d have to use irons... might as well go irons and not get any advantage from the Aimpoint. That viewpoint and yours makes ZERO sense any way you look at it. He has FULL ability to get his weapon running 100% with a piston system as if he had a DI system that went down.
This would make the most sense.
Nobody should be taking a weapon into harms way that they cannot easily support. Nothing is perfect, no matter what a few guys might tell you.
DI SBR AR's can run very reliably, but they do require more work from the end user. Proper set-up, PM, and heavy cleaning & lubrication is a must.
No offense Doc, but since you asked for opinions here’s mine. Clearly you’re an enthusiast with enough disposable income to get any and all of the toys, but consider the fact you’re going into a combat zone, not a week at Gunsite. You need a PDW that's going to be light enough and handy enough that you have it with you ALL of the time. You want something functional? When you get there see if you can get an M16A1 with the old style Colt collapsible stock and then add one of the 11.5” uppers CMMG is selling. This is an A1 (C7) upper with the M4 feed ramps mated to a light weight, 1 in 7 twist barrel. This combination weighs in at a hair over six pounds INCLUDING a loaded 20 round mag. Need optics (like I do)? Add a Compact ACOG (I like the 1.5 X 24 for its extended eye relief). It’s light weight, tough as nails and weighs so little that even with the scope mounted the gun is going to come in around 6.5 pounds. Let me say that again, because it matters, 6.5 pounds, loaded! No batteries, nothing to fail, just a very light, very handy, very lethal package you won’t leave back at the room because you’re tired of carrying it. Any armorer can work on it, parts are readily available and everybody around you is going to know how to work the thing if the flag goes up and you need the help. Oh yeah, and if you can really bring your own suppressor, get the AAC Omni if you can get you hands on one. It’s quick detach, it’ll fit the stock flash suppressor, no parts to lose and you’ll probably be the only kid on the block with one. You’ll be the envy of everyone in your battalion.
According to their website, Bushmaster does.
I agree with that logic 100%.
What I can't understand though is why the military hasn't switched to using them on EVERY M-16 type weapon rather than teaching everyone to "adjust". I've loaned my AR to more than a couple of very proficient soldiers at the Ft. Benning range, and EVERY ONE of them commented on how much better they liked the safety, and these guys were right handed! Shorter guys or guys with smaller hands find it easier to put the safety ON with their trigger finger, and it just makes life SO much easier being able to operate the lever from either side. Ditto with the magazine release, but that's an entirely different (and more expensive) story.
Fellow Lefty out
You're sure you're allowed to use a shorty upper of your own over there?
I'm not famialir with the hoops needed to jump through to get a NFA suppressor over and back?
There's a form I fill out that temporarily puts it on the unit's books.
You list the latest and greatest of the cool stuff, which is fine if thats what you want.
I'm old. this is just like other guys buying a red Corvette. You will reach mid-life sooner or later, and will understand then.
In my experience the most popular shorty upper for guys to take over are 10.5" LMTs in a DD 9.5FSP.
That's very good input, and I will take a hard look at that option.
Most of these guys are higher ranking officers who want the SBR for getting in and out of vehicles, so they have no interest in adding the length of a suppressor.
That makes a lot of sense.
You said your not going over as a gun fighter, so I dont understand your concern about cleaning, and I sure as hell wouldnt want to take something I couldnt easily get spare parts for.
Cleaning weapons, well old habit s die hard. As for gun fighting, if I happen to be in the wrong place, and one starts around me, do I raise my hand and say, "Excuse me, but I'm just a doctor this tour. I'll take a complete set of spares with me.
My suggestion is pictured below:
That looks pretty handy. I may have to get one of each. I very much appreciate your feedback.
In 2003 this FST didn't see a chow hall for three months. The FST is located as close to the fighting as possible. The idea is so that guys don't die during a long medevac flight. We do stabilization surgery so the soldiers can make it to a higher echelon facility in theater or go direct to Germany.
Two doctors that I know in this business went through two ambushes in 2003. Not on the way to the chow hall.
I was a grunt, when there was only one basic model of M-16, and it came with a three pronged flash-hider. Talk about spending long months in the field with crappy gear and no spare parts. Since our detachment will be 2,500 miles from our parent battalion I guess I'll be the "armorer".
As for the disposable income part of the equation, I got through college on the old GI bill, and through medical school on our state's Vietnam Era Veterans Scholarship program. Now I have a clinic in a poor, rural and underserved part of Idaho. Take home pay was about $30,000.00 last year. the work is necessary and satisfying, but there is no money in it. I can buy the gun of my dreams because I drive a pickup with 230,000 miles on it. We find a way to do those things in life that we really want to. I am an enthusiast because I was saddled with shitty issue equipment for a long time.
I've never been to Gunsite, Thunder Ranch or Disney World. Just the 82nd Abn, ODA 113 of 12th SFG (yeah, I'm that old), 170 TFS/183 TFG and a few schools here and there. I don't have enough disposable income or disposable time to go to a nice shooting school right now, but I certainly will before I deploy.
I can probably arrange some help in locating a good deal on a 10.5" upper. It sounds to me like you’re an honorable man deserving some help in getting the gear you need.
Send me an IM.
I honestly meant no offense, I didn’t mean to imply you were toy happy, your income is none of my business and I think being an enthusiast is a good thing. My apologies if you took anything I said to be a slam. For the record, I also went through school on the GI bill and the odometer reads 170,000 on the old 4Runner.
I sent you an IM
As long as you take something that can work with an M4 buffer and gas tube your fine- Parts you might break?
Gas tube, bolt, or stock [highly unlikely though on the bolt and stock.]
If it will take those parts you should be fine. You can find some support from a unit with M4's.
I'll bet your issue is an M16A4 or A2 with RAS. If that's the case you can just swap the stock for a collapsible unit but you will need to obviously bring a wrench- I reccomend a Colt spec reciever extension as you can find parts for them even if you can't find a DFAC.
What are the parts you guys keep referencing that are not servicable by an armorer over there in his original set up? I still dont see a problem with support for any of it.
I didn't mean to be so prickly. It has been a week of patients coming in driving $40,000.00 Pickup trucks and making "rich doctor" cracks.
I just got an e-mail from an old friend asking if I wanted to do this work in uniform, or as a contractor. Gives one pause to think. I love taking care of soldiers. I hate breathing the same air as the "career minded" senior officers.
I really appreciate all the feed back from you guys.